Professional Assistance For Those Seeking Child Support
Virginia law recognizes that a child has the right to support from both parents. The commonwealth’s child support guidelines base this support on the income from both parents, without regard to whether a parent is a mother or father. We will help you resolve child support disputes, including enforcing existing child support orders. We draw on more than 30 years of family law experience to deliver the results our clients need.
How To File For Child Support In Virginia
Child support is wholly dependent on the parent-child relationship. For married couples, the husband is presumed to be the father of any children born during the marriage, and barring evidence to the contrary, must contribute child support after a divorce. When parents have not been married, the parent with primary custody of the child, often times – but not always – the child’s mother, can file an application for child support with the Virginia Department of Social Services Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE). If the mother is seeking child support, the father may agree to pay support or may deny paternity. In the latter case, the mother must establish paternity through a court proceeding.
Finally, if an unmarried father wants custody or visitation rights, he must file with the court to establish paternity, which would make him subject to child support.
What Does Child Support Cover?
Child support payments are meant to cover the basic expenses for the child: housing, food, clothing and so on. Virginia has guidelines for determining the appropriate amount of child support based on:
- The monthly gross income of both parents minus alimony and legally allowed deductions
- The number of children to be supported
- Cost of health insurance for the child
- Child care costs
Because statutory guidelines make child support relatively easy to calculate, arriving at the presumptive amount of basic support is relatively simple, provided that each parent is honest about their sources of incomes and deductions. However, each family is different and there may be grounds for requesting a deviation from the presumptive amount. The court has discretion to deviate in its order when the presumptive amount does not accurately reflect a parent’s ability to pay or serve the best interests of the children.
In our practice, we often help mothers obtain additional child support for expenses related to:
- A child’s special needs
- Private school tuition
- College expenses
- Enrichment activities
- Summer camp and travel teams
A court’s child support order has the force of law and stays in effect until the supporting parent dies, or until the child turns 18, or — if not yet a high school graduate — 19. The court may order a supporting parent to purchase life insurance to guarantee adequate child support until the child reaches the age of majority.
Professional Management Of Post-Divorce Child Support Issues
In our family law practice, we represent those whose ex-spouses either refuse to pay child support or request a downward modification of their obligation. Under Virginia law, when a parent who has the ability to pay refuses to meet child support obligations, he or she is “guilty of a misdemeanor” and liable for a fine up to $500 or up to 12 months in jail, or both.
When a parent claims inability to pay and asks for a modification, he or she must demonstrate a substantial reduction in available income. We scrutinize their finances to determine whether the claim is valid. If a parent is deliberately earning less than he or she could to escape child support, the court can impute income to that parent and maintain the same level of child support.
If you are a parent and child support payments due to you are in arrears, you can trust our firm to take decisive steps to resolve this issue.
Compassionate Yet Aggressive Representation Yields Positive Results
If you are seeking child support as part of a divorce or a paternity action, trust Morrison, Ross and Whelan to provide highly professional representation. Call us today at 540-347-1000. You may also reach out to us online to arrange a consultation. Our office is just off 211 and business 29, in the heart of Fauquier County at 31 Garrett Street in Warrenton.